Molecular Biology ASCP certification exam

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KM in Wendell, North Carolina

57 months ago

I know a person who did not pass the ASCP MP, but later on did pass the NCA MP. In her opinion there was a difference in the difficulty level of the two exams, the NCA being the easier one.
Did you get the NCA practice exam online? Also, what is your molecular biology background?

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HL in Los Angeles, California

57 months ago

Yes, I believe that there is a difference in difficulty by just looking at the two study outlines. I did get that NCA practice test online. It is easier than most of the CLS molecular pathology questions I've encountered. I am a research technician at a biotech lab going on 3 years out of college. I was also in a research lab at a children's hospital.

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KM in Wendell, North Carolina

57 months ago

Could you post a link to the NCA practice test?
Like I said in my first post I have a Master's in MolB. I have worked in four research labs (USDA-ABADRL/yeast genetics/Drosophila genetics/Drosophila genetics). Now I work in a clinical lab - I started in molecular testing for CF and very recently moved to a molecular diagnostics lab. I qualified to take the ASCP MB exam based on route 4 (graduate degree + at least 6 months of experience in molecular testing). As far as the test goes I feel like I should know Molecular Science and Molecular Techniques well, but I'm a little concerned about the sections for Laboratory Operations and Applications of Molecular Testing.

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KM in Wendell, North Carolina

57 months ago

I got the ASCP Molecular Pathology review book. I paged through it and I don't think it will be very helpful. There are no sample questions, and it covers a variety of different diseases in detail. There is a chapter reviewing molecular biology that pretty much covers the exam content outline section for molecular science, but other than that I don't think the book will be useful.

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Hl in Los Angeles, California

56 months ago

Know DNA replication well (enzyme and protein names, function, greek names). Know how to increase specificity and yield in PCR and Southern Blotting. Definitely know DNA structure and histones.

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KM in Wendell, North Carolina

56 months ago

Thank you so much! I really appreciate your advice!

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KM in Wendell, North Carolina

56 months ago

Just wanted to bump this up...
Does anyone else have any advice?
Thanks!

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confussed in Los Angeles, California

56 months ago

I have passed NCA Mol Bio test in early 2008 which is now recognised as MB(ASCP) but I can not get a California license because I never worked in a clinical lab, I always worked for acameia non clinical mol bio labs. I got a Cal trainee license in mol biol and genetics but can not secure a place to get my 1 year training in California. The best option would be to find clinical lab work in Mol Biol field out of California state and then it would count as a training and I would be fully licensed here in CA. I dont know where to look for to find someone hiring a MB(ASCP) certified with years of non clinical Mol Biol lab experience! any help is highly appreciated

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KM in Garner, North Carolina

55 months ago

Three weeks to go. I've been studying a lot, and I feel pretty good about my preparation for the exam.
I used the Live Chat application available at ASCP website. I asked the customer service person if there was a practice exam or even a few sample questions available, and their answer was NO. She said it's such a new test that the only thing they have for it is the content outline and the reading list...that really wasn't much help.

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Steph in Cumming, Georgia

55 months ago

I am also signed up to take the exam in May.... good luck to all others taking the test, I wish I had something useful to add... I also purchased the compendium, and am not sure how useful it will be. One of my coworkers used a couple of the texts from the reading list and passed, but this was before the merger.

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hl in Los Angeles, California

55 months ago

Make sure to know common disorders tested for in molecular laboratories. These include Cystic Fibrosis, Fragile X, Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy, B and T gene rearrangements, bcr abl and bcl2. Also know commonly tested disorders like HIV viral load, Tuberculosis, Chlamydia, Factor V Leiden and Hereditary Hemachromatosis. Know the exact mutation (ex: substitutions, deletions, etc.) if there is one (or know that it's a substitution in some location), know basic information about them and know what tests are used to detect them.

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KM in Garner, North Carolina

55 months ago

HL - Thanks so much! I really appreciate this info!

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Confused scientist in Austin, Texas

55 months ago

Hello,
I am planning to take Molecular Biology (ASCP) test. I have MS in Biotechnology and BS in Biochemistry from a foreign university. I have been working in a molecular biology lab (CLIA and CAP certified) for about two years now. I did some research on available job opportunities for a MB (ASCP) certified technician, but it seems very limited. Especially in the area where I am currently located. On the otherhand, MLS (ASCP)seems like a better choice. But I am not sure if I am qualified enough..
Need some guidance, information from those who appeared for MLS test and got certified.
Thanks,

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KM in Garner, North Carolina

55 months ago

My advice would be to get whatever certification you will benefit from the most. I'm getting the MB(ASCP) because I can, not because I need to. It will just be something to put on my resume. I have never worked in a hospital, nor do I intend to. I have a Molecular Biology research background and I plan on staying with that. However, I want to transition from academic research to clinical or pharma research. I'm also very interested in Public Health and Infectious Disease Research. For the types of position I'm after, I don't need ASCP certification, it will just be something extra to set me apart from the competition.
I have also considered AMEDD (Army Medical Department) as a career option due to the fact that my husband is a US Army Helicopter Pilot. Once again, ASCP certification is not required, but will only help. It might allow me to commission as an O2 or even as an O3, instead of as an O1.

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ASCP MB los angeles in Olathe, Kansas

55 months ago

confussed in Los Angeles, California said: I have passed NCA Mol Bio test in early 2008 which is now recognised as MB(ASCP) but I can not get a California license because I never worked in a clinical lab, I always worked for acameia non clinical mol bio labs. I got a Cal trainee license in mol biol and genetics but can not secure a place to get my 1 year training in California. The best option would be to find clinical lab work in Mol Biol field out of California state and then it would count as a training and I would be fully licensed here in CA. I dont know where to look for to find someone hiring a MB(ASCP) certified with years of non clinical Mol Biol lab experience! any help is highly appreciated

I am in the same category somewhat...I even have clinical lab experience over 5 years here in LA in CLIA/CAP labs. Still they are asking me to go to a training program. Another lady who passed the exam after me got her Cal lic with same clinical lab experience as me. Do you think I can contest this? I don't want that lady to loose her lic. The LFS law on this is not clear. Does any one have a copy on this law? Does foreign clinical lab experience count?
LFS never answer these questions. Very frustrating!

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KM in Garner, North Carolina

55 months ago

Obviously I don't know anything about California rules and regulations, but the two of you in LA could look into molecular testing jobs at CA state lab and at LabCorp. I have worked at the NC State Lab of Public Health for 3+ years now and got hired here without having an ASCP certification. An ASCP certification is preferable (but not required), while a 4-yr biology-related degree is required...maybe your State Lab is the same way. I have worked in three different departments; Serology (IFA and ELISAs), Newborn Screening (CF genetic testing) and now in Molecular Diagnostics (testing and research). Before I joined the State Lab I had a job offer from LabCorp (but decided not to take it due to a long commute), so they hire non-ASCP as well.

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pasquale piscitelli in east haven, Connecticut

55 months ago

I took the exam on 3/16/10 and passed. Much harder than I anticipated. I self studied for 5 months with all my info from articles and animations on line. the ascp quideline was helpful but there is alot of infon to read about. I have worked in a molecular lab for the last 10 years which also helped. Have confidence and avoid all distractions while studying, no phone no tv no music, just peace and quiet!

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KM in Tarboro, North Carolina

55 months ago

Congrats on passing the exam, and thank you for the advice.
How many questions were on the test?

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pasquale piscitelli in Branford, Connecticut

55 months ago

there were 100 questions and you get 2.5 hours. Know Dna polymerase and the greek symbols, g>a substitutions for FV fII. Questions about HHE and CF. Follow the ascp test quideline I found it very helpful and google each topic. Know the southern blot and how to analyze a pyrosequencing graph. Do not panic when you start taking the test because there will be questions you know nothing about.

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KM in Tarboro, North Carolina

55 months ago

Thank you so much for these hints! I have one more week to study.

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pasquale piscitelli in Branford, Connecticut

55 months ago

my advice, do not try to cram the day before and get a good night sleep. If unsure about an answer click on the review box and you can go back at the end. I found it became easier by eliminating answers yoy know are not right----narrow down your choices. make sure you review pro vs eukar differences, good luck! you will do fine have confidence and do not get nervous

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KM in Clayton, North Carolina

55 months ago

Such great advice! Thank you! I've always been the type to study until the last minute, staying up late and getting up early to study on the day of the test. I'll make sure I won't overdo it.

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Daniel in League City, Texas

55 months ago

Just curious. What's the average salary for certified molecular technologists, particularly Texas? Also, how's the employment outlook (compared with MLS generalists)?

Thanks!

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Zare in Glendale, California

55 months ago

HI guys. actually i have a question. i got My CLS California state license by passing ASCP exam. now i wanna take the ASCP MB exam. just wanna know am i eligible to taking that exam or not. thanks in advance

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KM in Tarboro, North Carolina

55 months ago

Check the ASCP website for the different routes to qualify: www.ascp.org/FunctionalNavigation/certification/GetCertified/TechnologistCertification.aspx#mp

It appears that you would qualify under Route 1: ASCP certified as a technologist (MT/MLS, CG, CT, HTL, BB, C, H, I or M) or specialist (SBB, SC, SCT, SH, SI, SM or SV) AND a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university

Do you have any molecular biology experience?

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Zare in Glendale, California

55 months ago

thanks for responding. actually i have 4 years experience in molecular Biology. but the thing is it was in my previous country( Iran) and i have no experience here. do u think is that acceptable ?

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KM in Wade, North Carolina

55 months ago

To me it seems like, if you apply for the MB(ASCP) exam under Route1, you would qualify regardless of your previous experience. So, if you just want to take the exam, I think you can.

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KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Fayetteville, North Carolina

55 months ago

I passed!

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hl in Glendale, California

55 months ago

Congratulations!

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sc in Atlanta, Georgia

55 months ago

congrats.... any additional advice to those of us who haven't taken the exam yet?

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pasquale piscitelli in Branford, Connecticut

55 months ago

great

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KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Fayetteville, North Carolina

55 months ago

sc in Atlanta, Georgia said: congrats.... any additional advice to those of us who haven't taken the exam yet?

Besides what has alreasy been listed in the previous posts, know the replication fork and leading vs. lagging strand synthesis, interpretation of paternity testing, optimizing PCR and how to calculate Tm. Also, know the definition/meaning of sensitivity, specificity, PPV, precision and accuracy.

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Zare in Glendale, California

55 months ago

congrats... could u plz tell me about references you studied. i have no idea what should i read...

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KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Clayton, North Carolina

55 months ago

I mainly studied from "Molecular Diagnostics: Fundamentals, Methods and Clinical Applications" by Lela Buckingham and "Molecular Diagnostics: For the Clinical Laboratorian" by William B. Coleman. I also ordered the ASCP Quick Compendium of Molecular Pathology, and I used to content outline to review from my old college textbooks. The weekend before the test I Googled the topics on the content list, as others had suggested.
I really liked the Molecular Diagnostics by Lela Buckingham. It covers the required topics in enough detail and has good illustrations/pictures. The Molecular Diagnostics by William Coleman is a much more comprehensive book, but the pictures are awful. I mainly read the Buckingham book and supplemented it with the Coleman and ASCP books.

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MAKY in Atlanta, Georgia

55 months ago

Congrats!!Did you take any practice test before the exam?

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KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Fayetteville, North Carolina

55 months ago

There is no practice test available for the MB(ASCP) exam.

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Los Angeles, ASCP MB in Olathe, Kansas

54 months ago

CLS48 in California said: You can try the molecular bio program at the Quest in San Juan Capistrano since you have your trainee's license.

I too am in the same situation. I even have worked in clinical laboratories from 2003 and still LFS refuses to issue my Cal licence. I know someone who got it through the same lab experiance. Can someone quote me the actuall law?
Thanks. I passed my NCA MB in 2007.

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Los Angeles, ASCP MB in Olathe, Kansas

54 months ago

There was a change in Cal law regarding the Limited licence MB this April 2010. Does anyone know what it means?

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confused in Los Angeles, California

54 months ago

I have a CA Genetics and Molecular biology Trainee License but no clinical lab experience, if I get a job out of the CA State in a MB lab and work for a year would it count as a one year training to obtain my Full limitet MB CA license?

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GY in Los Angeles, California

54 months ago

KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Fayetteville, North Carolina said: I passed!

Congratulations!!!

I have MS in Biochemistry and years of experience in Molecular Biological research. I'd like to get into a clinical lab. It seems no way for me here. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

GY from LA

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KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Garner, North Carolina

54 months ago

Do you have a certifcation? Sounds like in CA you have to be a certified tech in order to work in a clinical lab. You could apply for a job at a VA or military hospital lab. Check USAjobs at www.usajobs.gov/ for government positions. Maybe even the government labs in CA require a certification, I don't know. I'm sorry I'm no help, but I'm not familiar with CA rules and regs. I, myself, was able to make the transition from academic labs to a clinical lab by taking a job with a state lab. Good luck!

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GY in Pasadena, California

54 months ago

KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Garner, North Carolina said: Do you have a certifcation? Sounds like in CA you have to be a certified tech in order to work in a clinical lab. You could apply for a job at a VA or military hospital lab. Check USAjobs at www.usajobs.gov/ for government positions. Maybe even the government labs in CA require a certification, I don't know. I'm sorry I'm no help, but I'm not familiar with CA rules and regs. I, myself, was able to make the transition from academic labs to a clinical lab by taking a job with a state lab. Good luck!

I will look into it. Thanks!

GY

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CLS48 in California

54 months ago

1 year in an approved training program in molecular bio. That is approved by the state of CA. If you work out of state for a year, CA will probably not take it. It's best to ask them, but the rules are strict for both the generalist CLS CA license and the limited CLS CA license.

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KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Garner, North Carolina

54 months ago

GY - Maybe look into working in the biotech industry. Applied Biosystems, Bio-Rad and Beckman-Coulter (just to name a few) have labs in CA. With an MS in Biochem and experience in MolB research, you could probably easily find a job in R&D with one of the companies. Those types of jobs pay well too.

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GY in Pasadena, California

54 months ago

You are right. But I don't have industry experience.
Thanks!

Gloria

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GY in Pasadena, California

54 months ago

CLS48 in California said: 1 year in an approved training program in molecular bio. That is approved by the state of CA. If you work out of state for a year, CA will probably not take it. It's best to ask them, but the rules are strict for both the generalist CLS CA license and the limited CLS CA license.

I think so. Thanks!

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GY in Pasadena, California

54 months ago

You are right. But I don't have industry experience.
Thanks!

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KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Garner, North Carolina

54 months ago

I don't think you need to have industry experience. It might be a plus, but as long as you have the education (your Biochem degree) and hands on working experience (your MolB research backgorund), I don't see why you wouldn't get fair consideration. I think you'd do just fine applying for biotech jobs. Just try and see what happens.

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dulce de leche in Miami, Florida

53 months ago

what is the best book to study for the molecular biology lincese?.

is there a link in the ASCP website? that shows the books to read or the date of the test???

helppppppppppppp please

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KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Angier, North Carolina

53 months ago

As I said before...

KM, MS MB(ASCP) in Clayton, North Carolina said: I mainly studied from "Molecular Diagnostics: Fundamentals, Methods and Clinical Applications" by Lela Buckingham and "Molecular Diagnostics: For the Clinical Laboratorian" by William B. Coleman. I also ordered the ASCP Quick Compendium of Molecular Pathology, and I used to content outline to review from my old college textbooks. The weekend before the test I Googled the topics on the content list, as others had suggested.
I really liked the Molecular Diagnostics by Lela Buckingham. It covers the required topics in enough detail and has good illustrations/pictures. The Molecular Diagnostics by William Coleman is a much more comprehensive book, but the pictures are awful. I mainly read the Buckingham book and supplemented it with the Coleman and ASCP books.

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